Trinity's Campus Master Plan Taking Shape
Plan to Embody Values of Trinity Tomorrow strategic roadmap, possible historic district
Monday, September 12, 2016
Artist drawing of new campus area
Artist drawing of new campus area

Trinity's Campus Master Planning Committee, in partnership with Austin-based architectural group Page, has made significant progress toward the development of a campus master plan that will have a positive and lasting impact on the Trinity community. The master plan is scheduled for completion in the spring and will be presented for approval to the Board of Trustees at their February 2017 meeting.

The plan, one of the Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan's action steps, will establish criteria that will guide decisions for renovations, enhancements, space usage, and new construction in the coming decades. One of the overarching goals of the plan is to honor Trinity's past and look toward the future, celebrating O'Neil Ford's architectural legacy and commitment to innovation. "I am excited by this plan because the approach to campus planning supports students' emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical development, as well as how it reflects contemporary needs for learning as O'Neil Ford always understood," said Carol Folbre '81, member of the Alumni Association Board and member of the Campus Master Planning Committee.

Now in the final stages of development, the committee is pursuing two significant elements to be included in Trinity's Campus Master Plan. The first is a wide-range dining study to assess changes in students' dining habits and evaluate the benefits of adopting new approaches to campus dining. The findings could have an impact on the operations and configuration of the University's various dining facilities in the future.

The second involves exploring the possibility of establishing a historic district within the borders of the Trinity campus. The University would have to determine which O'Neil Ford buildings would qualify for historic designation and submit an application to the Texas Historical Commission. "Trinity's campus is truly distinctive in that it has a significant collection of buildings by a significant architect. We may be one of the first college campuses to think about how we preserve our mid-century modern buildings," said Diane Graves, University Librarian and chair of the Campus Master Planning Committee. A historic district could afford Trinity a number of benefits, including earning the University tax credits with a potential financial benefit of approximately 20 percent of qualified renovation expenses. The University estimates there could be up to $30 million in savings over the coming decade.

Some of the "big ideas" also up for consideration in the Campus Master Plan include:

  • creating a new main entrance on Hildebrand and expanding a "living/learning" corridor that enhances the connection between upper and lower campus,
  • adding more single-resident rooms and apartment-style living for upper division students,
  • adding intramural green space, and
  • linking the Chapman Center, Halsell Administrative Studies, and Coates Library buildings with a structure that will connect these buildings, expand space, and foster interaction across disciplines.

The full implementation of these opportunities will be linked to careful management of resources as well as the potential for philanthropic appeal.

Once completed, the Campus Master Plan will be the result of a year and a half-long collaborative planning process that has engaged faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders. The process has also been informed by data from an interactive online survey to explore how the community navigates and experiences the campus; student focus groups; interviews with key stakeholders, including area architects; and feedback gathered at several campus forums this past year.

"I am grateful to the members of the Campus Master Plan Committee," said Trinity President Danny Anderson. They work with tireless dedication to this project and to the contributions of so many who share a deep love of the Trinity campus and the ways it promotes discovery and community, and connects us to our mission."

Sharon Jones Schweitzer '75 helps tell Trinity's story as a contributor to the University communications team.

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